Lots of photo options showing up in iOS 5 beta

With the release of a new version of iOS 5 for developers over the weekend, more features from the upcoming giant operating system update are suggesting that the iPhone could become an even better camera than it is.

Already, the iPhone is the camera most people seem to be reaching for on a day-to-day basis. According to stats released from photo sharing site Flickr, some brand or other of iPhone is set to outpace just about all other cameras for images shared on the site. And now in iOS 5, Apple is adding more tools to amp up developers’ abilities to exploit the iPhone’s camera and create great apps in the process.

We heard at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in March that the company was adding Core Image to iOS 5, and now more and more of that software’s effects are being seen throughout the beta versions of the operating system, according to a story from TechCrunch. More specifically, Apple has added a whole bunch more photo filters to iOS 5 in the latest beta release, which developers can leverage straight out of the box. This means that the iPhone itself will have the capabilities to manipulate every image created using its hardware in different ways, and developers will be able to access those capabilities without having to create photo filters themselves for their apps.

Core Image vs Core Graphics

Core Image replaces Core Graphics in previous versions of iOS, a weaker tool kit with less to offer developers, TechCrunch explains. That meant that developers creating photography apps for the iPhone had a lot more work to do in order to access photos and find good ways of manipulating them. Core Image, on the other hand, takes out a lot of that work by making the filters readily accessible and normalizing them. Basically, this allows developers to concentrate on making stronger photography apps with better features because they don’t have to waste their time on the basics of the more common filters. There will be other positives with the increase of Core Image options, TechCrunch writes:

These Core Image options will also significantly speed up image processing for many of the apps out there already using some filters. The reason is that it gives developers easier access to OpenGL, which is what developers currently use for things like video game graphic rendering — it’s significantly more powerful than Core Graphics, but harder to access.

It all gets a bit technical, but the point is, the easy things with image manipulation and graphics in iOS are being handled by Apple, which means developers can put more resources into higher-end effects in their apps, focus on video and do other cool things with their time. What’s even better about Apple strengthening up the photo and image side of the iOS software is that it’s rumored the iPhone 5 will have an even stronger camera than its predecessors, jumping up to as many as 8-megapixels in the rear-facing hardware.

With big support for photography in iOS 5 plus new hardware, expect a rash of great new photography apps that will make the iPhone an even bigger success when capturing images and video. We’ve seen the iPhone do some very cool things, from filming entire music videos, to replacing journalists’ big traditional cameras in the field. It seems Apple has seen the potential of its little device in this aspect, and is adding more tools to the benefit of the masses.

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